Monday 27 April 2020

Huawei's 5G Book RRUs Start Delivering On Their Promises

We have blogged about Huawei's Book RRUs last year here. Now, Huawei and China Telecom Shenzhen (a.k.a. Telecom Shenzhen) have taken the lead in achieving the global ultra-large scale 3D networking that involves macro and pole base stations in China. Hundreds of 5G C-Band (3.4 - 4.2 GHz) Book RRUs were used to help the operator deliver an undifferentiated experience in 5G-covered areas.

Huawei announced in a press release:

Book RRU is an innovative product that is small in size, lightweight, and easy to deploy. This offers an effective approach of addressing challenges associated with insufficient site resources. 5G Book RRUs enable significant improvements in 5G in-depth coverage and user experience in residential areas while increasing network capacity.

In-depth coverage in residential areas, urban villages, upscale communities, and backstreet alleys is a long-standing challenge which has faced operators. Insufficient resources and difficult acquisition lead to difficult and time-consuming site deployment.

Lightweight 5G Book RRUs enable quick 5G deployment in residential areas by using walls, lamp poles, monitoring poles, and electricity poles as sites. This offers a quick solution to achieving quick deployment, helping eliminate coverage holes and offload network traffic.

In December 2019, China Telecom Shenzhen completed the deployment and verification of the first 5G Book RRU. 4T4R 5G Book RRUs were used in the project.

After the recent 5G Book RRU deployment, tests show showed that the downlink speed exceeds 1.2Gbps on commercial mobile devices (Mate30 Pro) when the network spectrum is 100 MHz. With Book RRU deployment, coverage holes 150 to 200 m away from streets are eliminated and indoor in-depth coverage of low-rise buildings standing 50 m to 100 m above the ground is achieved.

This places the operator in a unique position to meet the capacity requirements in value hotspots in Shenzhen, such as school campuses, office buildings, business districts, and scenic parks. Book RRUs supplement macro base stations with in-depth coverage and hotspot capacity absorption. This improves user experience and releases suppressed traffic while also increasing ROI.

Shenzhen Telecom is the pioneer of digital construction. Under the overall construction plan of the new infrastructure construction China Telecom Shenzhen will continue to collaborate with Huawei to complete quick 3D networking based on 5G standalone (SA) technologies through combined deployment of macro, pole, and indoor products, enabling optimal user experience while securing 5G leadership.
Picture Source: Susan Welsh de Grimaldo

Last year, Huawei gave a tour to analysts in Zurich, Switzerland to show their kit on Sunrise's network. This tweet from analyst Kester Mann, shows two examples of Book RRU deployments for Sunrise network in 3.7 GHz spectrum with local coverage up to 200 metres and speeds recorded above 700 Mbps with 9 milliseconds of latency.

With operators have to provide dense coverage to meet the 5G expectations, we won't be surprised to see more products like these in the near future.

Related Posts:

Monday 20 April 2020

SuperMicro's 5G Pole-Mounted DU Server Solution

Back in December 2019, Supermicro launched Server Class Edge Systems for Open 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) Solutions. These new SuperServers offer O-RAN Open-Platform Software, Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, GPUs, FPGA and IP65-rated protective enclosures for Pole-Mounted Cell Tower Deployments. The solutions for 5G cell tower deployments leverage fully-configurable SuperServers based on 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Xeon D processors, O-RAN compliant partner software, and ability to operate in harsh environments. These capabilities accelerate the mobile network evolution from proprietary hardware/software to open source software and disaggregated hardware for 5G installations.

The press release states:

“Supermicro’s data center customers and global telecommunication operators are asking for non-proprietary disaggregated hardware and software 5G solutions supporting multi-vendor web-scale networks, said Charles Liang, president, and CEO of Supermicro. “Supermicro’s new SuperServer solutions provide the 5G network infrastructure with maximum deployment flexibility and efficient total cost of ownership (TCO).”

Supermicro’s two new systems are its first servers for 5G, the Intelligent Edge, and other embedded applications to be based on 2nd Gen Intel Xeon processors. The E403-9P-FN2T is built for demanding environments and includes three PCI-E slots for GPU and FPGA accelerator cards. The compact 1U 1019P-FHN2T is well-suited for controlled environments such as micro data centers and re-purposed central office locations and features two full-height full-length PCI-E slots.

With these expansion slots, Supermicro can provide real-time Edge AI inferencing via GPU cards, and accelerate 5G RAN software and open-standard site-to-site communication using the Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card N3000. These new servers complement Supermicro’s successful Intel Xeon D-based 1019D and E403 models. Supermicro is developing IP65-rated protective enclosures to meet the needs of outdoor environments such as cell towers and microcell sites.

5G Physical Layer splits can be seen in the picture above. While 4G used the BBU + RRU/RRH architecture, 5G will have a Central Unit (CU) and a Distributed Unit (DU). A Radio Unit (RU) may be present in some scenarios as well.

The Outdoor Edge Systems page on their website provides more information about the Pole-Mounted IP65 Server Platform for 5G and the Intelligent Edge. We will end with a video that depicts their vision

Related Posts:

Tuesday 7 April 2020

TIP Webinar on Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT)

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) group is a project group within Telecom Infra Project that works on the definition of open technologies, architectures and interfaces in Optical and IP Networking.

The project is an engineering-focused effort led by major operators, technology vendors and research institutions. It concentrates on different parts of the Transport network architecture, including optical transponders, line systems, IP access devices, open APIs and network simulation and planning tools.

TIP held a public webinar on 25th March with a lot of details about the group and the different projects within the group. The webinar is embedded below:
OOPT Public Webinar March 2020 from Telecom Infra Project on Vimeo.

You can jump to the part that may be of interest to you:

02:20 - Welcome & Introduction to TIP, Attilio Zani (TIP)
12:30 - Introduction to Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) Project Group, Víctor López Álvarez (Telefónica)
23:00 - Disaggregated Cell Site Gateways (DCSG), José Antonio Gómez (Vodafone) & João Gabriel Evangelista Aleixo (TIM Brasil)
41:00 - Disaggregated Optical System (DOS), Johan Hortas (Telia)
45:00 - Cassini Overview, Jeff Catlin (EdgeCore) & José Miguel Guzmán (Whitestack)
1:00:00 - Phoenix Overview, Anders Lindgren (Telia)
1:09:00 - Disaggregated Optical Routers (DOR), Kenji Kumaki (KDDI)
1:17:00 - Physical Simulation Environment (PSE), Gert Grammel (Juniper) & Gabriele Galimberti (Cisco)
1:28:30 - Control, Information Models and APIs (CIMA), Harald Bock (Infinera) & Stephan Neidlinger (ADVA)
1:38:30 - Converged Architectures for Network disaggregated & Integration (CANDI), Oscar González de Dios (Telefónica) & Hirotaka Yoshioka (NTT)
1:52:30 - OOPT NOS – Goldstone, Kingston Selvaraj (PaIC Networks)
2:02:00 - Closing Remarks, Víctor López Álvarez (Telefónica)

Friday 3 April 2020

Operator Cloud Infrastructure and Innovation Strategy

When I wrote about Docomo's Open Innovation Cloud, there was some discussion about what exactly is meant by the cloud, whether it has to be public or private (there is hybrid as well) and if service providers (SPs) are embracing it or not.
So before we jump into the mobile operator's strategies, I thought it would be good to do a quick introduction / recap on what is meant by cloud. Embedded below is a slightly long presentation, which goes in some detail but for most people the first 7 minutes is more than enough.

GSMA's 'The 5G Guide' which was produced last year has a lot of valuable information for the operators and everyone else willing to learn from that. Section 3.11 deals with '5G Value Enablers: Operator Cloud'. The key takeaways from that section are:

  • The Operator Cloud will combine the best of both cloud and edge to enable the 5G ‘Service Delivery Model’.
  • Edge computing in 5G networks will be delivered as Multi-access Edge Computing to reduce latency.
  • An Operator Cloud can help operators to save up to 2% of capex by improving operational efficiency and customer experience.
  • If operators can create competitive global platforms for edge/cloud services, this could unlock a new revenue opportunity of up to $100bn.

The GSMA whitepaper details the importance of operator cloud and the case for MEC, which is suited in what scenario. I am not detailing them here except for the final section below:

Value creation and capture with the Operator Cloud is firstly about an ‘infrastructure strategy’

A common refrain in the industry about the Operator Cloud, edge computing and MEC is that they present a chicken and egg dilemma. Operators seek a robust business case with clearly identified revenue sources and sizes before embarking on the journey to deploy the distributed edge/cloud infrastructure. While this may look like the prudent thing to do, it creates inertia for action and can lead to operators foregoing the opportunity completely.

An alternative approach is to consider the Operator Cloud, firstly as part of the infrastructure strategy of an operator. Under this approach, the Operator Cloud is progressively rolled out together with 5G network build out. Operators also begin to use it for backhaul relief and to improve the QoE for customers.

Under this approach, operators can satisfy their own operational and customer experience needs, and then address new opportunities without needing to impose an unachievable ROI hurdle. Figure 3.11.3 shows the contrast between the infrastructure strategy vs. the innovation strategy.

With new 5G services and applications being defined in more mature markets, operators are keeping their options open as to when is the right time to change their strategy from infrastructure centric to innovation centric.

Related Posts: